Why did it take me so long to text you back?

Why did it take me so long to text you back?  In case you’ve been wondering, I’ll tell you…

If you’ve ever texted me and then, when you finally received a reply hours later, breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I didn’t die, this post is for you!


I’m kidding.  I know that was a major over-exaggeration, but I’ve heard my share of complaints about my texting-back speed.
To that, first: a gentle reminder that the entire point of texting instead of calling is that what you need to communicate is not an emergency and you’re prepared to wait for the recipient of your text message to get to it on his or her own time.
Second: a list of very real reasons I’ve waited to respond or didn’t respond to texts, in case anyone wants to know (or can relate).

  •  I opened your message, couldn’t think of an answer right away, decided to come back to it when I had more time, but then forgot about it.  (Once a message has been opened, the notification for it goes away, making it hard to remember to come back to it.)
  • I opened your message, then immediately got distracted by another notification.
  • I opened your message, typed a response, and forgot to hit “send”.
  • You sent me an invitation or suggestion to make plans, and I am either not at home to check my calendar, or have other people to check with before I can confirm plans.  (Sure, it may be conventionally considered polite to let you know that I’m working on getting an answer, but let’s be honest: even a non-committal “Maybe. Let me check and get back to you,” would give any of us a false sense of hope.  If I care about you, I don’t want to do that to you.)
  • I opened your message, read and processed what you said, but it didn’t occur to me to respond.  (For example, if you send me a text that is purely informative, with nothing left open to interpretation, is not open-ended, and does not contain any question whatsoever, I might see that as the end of the conversation, and sometimes I forget that other people often expect a reply of “Okay,” to let them know the message was received.)
  • I didn’t receive your message because my phone’s storage is full, so it’s rejecting incoming messages, and I haven’t gotten around to deleting things and/or can’t decide what to delete to make room.  (As I’ve mentioned before, prioritization is not an easy thing for me.)
  • I opened your message and am delaying my response out of spite.  (Just kidding.  I don’t do that.  That always seems to be the first conclusion people reach, but it has yet to ever be true.)


I hope this clears things up for inquiring minds.

To anyone who can relate: I hope you take comfort knowing you’re not the only one!


  1. My working memory is less use than a chocolate teapot so I can 100% relate to this – I’ve even learnt why I do some of the above from reading your beautifully explained article. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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